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What If a Self-Driving, Ride-Hailing Car Hits a Pedestrian?

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on January 28, 2022

Self-driving cars and trucks may be the “wave of the future,” but problems with these vehicles continue to plague the industry. In San Francisco, the ride-sharing company Waymo can be seen all over the city. Recently a pedestrian was hit by a Waymo vehicle. A company spokesperson said the car was being driven in manual mode, not self-driving mode. A famous Arizona case in which an Uber self-driving car hit and killed a pedestrian is not easily forgotten.

Waymo is a Google company, and their fully driverless ride hailing service is now available in various areas of the state, including Chandler, Mesa, and Tempe. They are expanding the numbers of self-driving vehicles to serve the public, with driverless cars available to “Waymo One” customer, and soon to be available to the waitlisted Waymo One customers.

Waymo has engaged in extensive testing, with their vehicles traveling over 20 million miles in an effort to perfect their self-driving technology. 65,000 of the miles logged were fully self-driving vehicles. The supporters of self-driving cars point to the high rates of car accidents, most of which are the result of driver error, which could be avoided with these vehicles – but no system is perfect. The self-driving cars now being tested in Arizona include:

  • Aurora
  • Beep
  • Cruise
  • Embark
  • Imagery
  • Nuro
  • TuSimple
  • Udely
  • Waymo

Arizona Law and Accidents with Self-Driving Cars

Under state law 28-661, autonomous vehicles (no driver), if involved in an accident with another vehicle, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or cyclist must stop at the scene of the accident, or as close as is safely possible, and the vehicle remain at the scene until the accident has been investigated. Arizona has become a testing area for many companies entering the autonomous car market, and residents of certain areas of the state often see these vehicles on the local streets. The Waymo version is easily recognized by its dome-like structure housing a spinning 360-degree lidar (light detection and ranging) and 360-degree camera system, and a forward-facing long range camera and radar.

Hit by a Self-Driving Vehicle? Who is Liable?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a self-driving car, the process of recovering compensation for damages is more complicated than with a human driver. The claim must be filed with the company itself, whether Waymo or one of the other autonomous vehicle companies now testing their vehicles in Arizona. This process should be addressed with the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney, who will manage every aspect of the case, and pursue full compensation for all damages. Issues can arise that make a case more complex, such as whether the vehicle was under control of a driver, or the autonomous driving system in the vehicle.

Types of Damages in Cases of Injury or Death in a Self-Driving Car Accident

The damages pursued will include:

  • Economic damages: These are the costs associated with medical care, transportation, nursing care, rehabilitation, medical equipment, lost income from work and other real-world losses.
  • Non-economic damages: These damages are often the highest portion of an injury claim. They put a monetary value on pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, the emotional anguish associated with disfigurement, loss of limb, eyesight, or other life-changing consequences to a victim.

Driverless Car Accident Statistics

Autonomous cars have been involved in many accidents in recent years and were involved in more accidents per million miles traveled than driver-operated vehicles, at 9.1 accidents per million miles, as opposed to 4.1 accidents per million miles for driver-operated vehicles. However, the injuries sustained were typically far less serious.

The Husband & Wife Law Team is dedicated to providing the highest quality service and care to all clients. When taking on a self-driving car accident, every detail of what occurred will be fully evaluated, and the maximum possible damages vigorously pursued. The firm takes on cases on a contingency fee basis, with no fees unless a settlement or jury award is achieved.

For a free consultation about a self-driving car accident, call (602) 457-6222 today.

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